Notes of a Meeting of the Heads of Delegations of the Five Great Powers Held in M. Pichon’s Room at the Quai d’Orsay, Paris, on Monday, 11 August, 1919, at 3:30 p.m.

  • Present
    • America, United States of
      • Hon. F. L. Polk.
    • Secretary
      • Mr. L. Harrison.
    • British Empire
      • The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour.
    • Secretaries
      • Mr. H. Norman.
      • Sir G. Clerk.
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau.
      • M. Pichon.
    • Secretaries
      • M. Dutasta.
      • M. Berthelot.
      • M. de St. Quentin
    • Italy
      • M. Tittoni.
    • Secretary
      • M. Paterno.
    • Japan
      • M. Matsui.
    • Secretary
      • M. Kawai.
Joint Secretariat
America, United States of Colonel U. S. Grant.
British Empire Capt. E. Abraham.
France Capt. A. Portier.
Italy Lt.-Col. A. Jones.
Interpreter—Professor P. J. Mantoux

1. M. Clemenceau asked if any of his colleagues had any news from Hungary.

Situation in Hungary Mr. Polk distributed a number of telegrams annexed in Appendix “A”.

Mr. Balfour asked if there were any indication that the Roumanians had received or meant to obey the orders of the Council.

M. Clemenceau said that there was not the slightest sign.

Mr. Balfour said he thought the silence on the part of the Roumanians was deliberate.

M. Pichon said that he did not think this could be inferred with certainty. The latest news was dated 7th or 8th and by that date the orders of the Council could not have arrived. There was a rumour that the line to Buda Pesth had been cut. He added, that a telegram had been received from the French Chargé d’Affaires at Bucharest dated 10th which was to the effect that he had handed, on the previous day, the telegrams from the Council to the Roumanian Government. None of the news contained in the telegrams distributed by Mr. Polk was subsequent to the 9th.

[Page 647]

Mr. Balfour said that he thought that the Roumanian Generals at Buda Pesth must have been made aware of the desires of the Council.

Mr. Polk said that according to information given to him by Mr. Buxton the Allied Generals had great difficulty in their dealings with the Roumanian General in avoiding unpleasant incidents. The attitude of the Roumanian General was very insolent.

M. Pichon said he fully admitted that the Roumanians were not behaving well but he suggested that a judgment should not be based on the news received.

M. Clemenceau said he thought it would be best to wait until the following day.

Mr. Polk observed that the way in which the Roumanians treated the Conference might become a pattern not only for other Small States but possibly even for Germany.

M. Tittoni asked what means of communication existed between the Conference and the Roumanian Generals at Buda Pesth.

Mr. Balfour said he understood the telegraph was in American hands as far as Vienna; communication thence to Buda Pesth was by telephone. If the Roumanians had cut the telephone, communications were severed. He added that he hoped the Allied Ministers at Bucharest were being kept informed of the instructions sent to the Generals at Buda Pesth.

M. Tittoni asked whether communication by wireless could not be maintained.

M. Pichon said that he would enquire from Marshal Foch what other methods could be employed to establish communication.

2. The Council had before it a letter from M. Benes (See Appendix “B”).

Letter From Czecho-Slovak Delegation Relative to the Roumanian Occupation of Hungary Mr. Balfour suggested that a suitable acknowledgment should be sent to M. Benes of his letter and that he should be told that it would receive full consideration.

(It was then decided that M. Benes’ letter of August 8th, 1919, regarding Czecho-Slovak Interests in Hungary should be acknowledged and that M. Benes should be assured that due note would be taken of its contents.)

3. The Council had before it the following communication from Colonel Haskell.

“From: Colonel Haskell, High Commissioner for the Entente in Armenia. Situation in Armenia

To: President Clemenceau, Peace Conference.

Have received official notice from the British Command at Constantinople that all British troops at the present time in the Caucasus have orders to commence complete evacuation on August 15th; an order from London only can prevent this movement.

[Page 648]

The Italians officially declare that they will not send troops. This retreat will leave several million dollars worth of relief provisions deposited at Batum Tiflis, Erivan, etc. without protection and will stop all measures of assistance now operating, without which thousands of Armenian refugees in Russian Armenia are exposed to death from famine. The Armenians are surrounded by enemies and have not enough arms munitions or energy to protect themselves. Two million of lives are in danger after the retreat of the British troops; anarchy will reign in the Caucasus where all the lives and properties are menaced. The French High Command in the East declares that British troops in the Caucasus are not under his jurisdiction.

In the name of the future of these regions, I ask that the British Government be requested to revoke the evacuation order until the question of the method of occupation shall have been decided. This viewpoint receives the approbation of all the authorities here who understand the situation.

Signed: William Haskell.
Allied High Commissioner to Armenia

Mr. Balfour said that the situation in Armenia was very serious and very disturbing. Historically what had led to the present position was, as far as he could remember, as follows. British troops had been sent into the country in 1918. In March and April of the current year it had been made clear to the Conference by Mr. Lloyd George that the British troops would be withdrawn. The date for withdrawal had first been the 15th July, but had since been postponed to the 15th August. It was probable that movements had already begun. It had therefore been known to the Conference for a long time that continuance of British occupation could not be expected. It had been understood that Italian troops would replace the British. Italy had accepted this exchange and the relief had been expected. From certain remarks made lately by M. Tittoni, he inferred that Italy regarded the enterprise as too great a burden. What resulted was that British troops were leaving the country, that Italian troops were not coming to replace them and that America was not sending any men.

M. Tittoni said that the question in as far as it concerned Italy, related to Turkish Armenia and not to Russian Armenia, of which Mr. Balfour had spoken. Italy at one time had thought of sending troops to Georgia and Azerbaijan, not to Armenia proper. Georgia demanded complete independence and on this condition raised no objection to occupation by Italian troops. On the other hand, Admiral Koltchak was unwilling to grant the independence of Georgia, though he might be ready to grant autonomy. If Italy had accepted a mandate on the conditions demanded by the Georgians, Italy would have taken upon herself responsibility for safeguarding the independence of Georgia. This, she could not do. In any case the area to be guarded was a large one; the Railway line from Baku to Batum was of very considerable length; some 40,000 men would be required [Page 649] and, in addition, shipping and supplies would have to be found. The last were to have been lent by Great Britain, though it appeared at the present time that British shipping would not be available. The initial expense would be, he was told, 75 million lire and the annual cost would be as much as 1 billion lire. Italy could not undertake so heavy a burden and the idea had therefore been given up. Nevertheless, he wished again to point out that the question of Georgia was quite distinct from that of Armenia.

M. Clemenceau asked whether the United States could do anything.

Mr. Polk said that the United States could do nothing until Congress acted. Troops could not be sent into a country with which the United States were not at war. The question of a mandate for Armenia would be put before Congress by the President.

Mr. Balfour asked whether President Wilson was aware of the critical condition of Armenia.

Mr. Polk replied that he had sent him two strong personal messages on the subject already within the last few days.

M. Clemenceau said the conclusion was that France could do nothing: Italy could do nothing: Great Britain could do nothing and, for the present, America could do nothing. It remained to be seen whether, as the result of this, any Armenians would remain.

(As no Government was prepared to furnish troops for Armenia, the question raised by Colonel Haskell of August 5th, 1919, was left without solution.)

4. M. Clemenceau asked his colleagues whether they had read the letter sent by General Dupont to Marshal Foch (Appendix C). For his part he thought that what Erzberger had said was true. All French agents, both civil and military, were of one mind on the subject. He thought, therefore, that General Dupont’s conclusion was sound. He had no intention of giving up the principle of demanding the surrender of culprits, but it might be advisable to confine the demand to a few symbolic persons, for instance, the Kaiser, the assassin of Miss Edith Cavell and the murderer of Captain Fryatt. A demand limited to a small number would probably not be resisted. The suggestion he would make was that each of the members should name one representative to proceed to Berlin and to consult General Dupont as to what was practicable. For himself, he would nominate M. Haguenin, who knew everybody in Berlin and whom he could trust implicitly to form a correct estimate. Probably his colleagues could make equally satisfactory nominations. Execution of Clauses 227–230 of the Treaty With Germany

Mr. Balfour said that he considered M. Clemenceau’s proposal very worthy of consideration, but before he could give complete assent to it, [Page 650] he would like to observe first that it represented an abandonment of the Treaty. Secondly, this abandonment was on a point, concerning which English public opinion had been greatly excited at the time of the Election. He thought that scarcely a Member had been returned who had not addressed his constituents on this subject and promised them that the guilty should be punished. He would therefore ask to be allowed to consult Mr. Lloyd George before assenting to M. Clemenceau’s proposal.

Mr. Polk said that from his point of view, the proposal represented a change in the Treaty.

M. Tittoni Said that he quite agreed with General Dupont’s proposal. He also concurred in the opinion that it was not advisable to try the Kaiser.

M. Clemenceau said that he did not intend to abandon anything. What he had proposed to do was to execute the Treaty bit by bit. It was desirable to help the present German Government to live on for a few months. He believed that the presentation of the full demand would destroy it. He, himself, had a list of 1,000 names. Doubtless his colleagues had similar lists.

Mr. Balfour said that M. Clemenceau’s plan was doubtless excellent. It consisted not in giving up any of the culprits, but in deferring the demand for some of them. The proposal was therefore different from that made by General Dupont who only proposed to take a few. He did not think, however, that it would comfort the Germans.

M. Clemenceau said that M. Haguenin had a very long conversation with Erzberger who had assured him that this was not a thing to be trifled with. There was no intention on the part of France to abandon the execution of the Treaty. At first, it was suggested that a few prominent culprits should be asked for; the rest could await their fate for a few months.

Mr. Balfour said there were three possible plans. One was to stick to the Treaty to the letter and ask for all the culprits at once. The second was M. Clemenceau’s plan to ask for a few well selected victims at once and to put off the rest. The third, to abandon part of the Treaty entirely and only insist on the surrender of a very few. He thought these three possible plans should be submitted to the various Governments.

(It was decided to postpone discussion on the execution of Articles 227–230 of the Peace Treaty with Germany, pending consultation of their respective Governments by Mr. Balfour and Mr. Polk on General Dupont’s proposals.)

(M. Seydoux entered the room.)

5. M. Seydoux gave the Council an explanation of the document annexed as Appendix “D”.

[Page 651]

Note From Supreme Economic Council on the Exchange of Goods Between Countries of Central Europe Mr. Balfour asked why, since the Blockade had been raised, it had been necessary to bring this question before the Council at all.

Mr. Seydoux said he had agreed with Mr. Balfour that there was no particular reason for the intervention of the Council.

(It was decided that the raising of the Blockade had rendered unnecessary any action by the Council regarding the regulation of exchanges of goods between the countries of Central Europe.)

6. Note From Supreme Economic Council on the Allies in Russia M. Seydoux read and commented [on] the report of the Sub-Committee of the Supreme Economic Council on Russia, dated 9th July, 1919:—

“With reference to Minute 244 of the Supreme Economic Council, the Sub-Committee on Russia presents in Russia the following report:

The Committee considers that any discussion of the ultimate economic rehabilitation of Russia is at present purely academic.
The Committee considers that economic assistance should at once be given to those areas of Russia now under the jurisdiction of the so-called “Provisional Government of Russia” in conformity with the terms of the telegrams exchanged by the Council of Four and Admiral Koltchak.1
This assistance should take the form of credits from the various Allied Governments to be expended in purchases and transportation of commodities from the countries furnishing such credits.
The Nature of these credits and the commodities to be supplied and their distribution should be determined by a Commission organised for this purpose from the countries supplying the credits and the goods. The Commodities to be furnished should be of such a character as are necessary to rehabilitate transportation and the production of manufactures. Their distribution should be organised in such a manner as to reconstitute commercial life.
It appears to the Committee that credits to the amount of £50,000,000 sterling would cover the amount of commodities (exclusive of arms and munitions) that could advantageously be supplied and used within a period of twelve months.”

Mr. Balfour suggested that consideration of the question be deferred until the discussion of the general policy to be adopted regarding Russia.

(It was decided to defer consideration of the proposals of the Supreme Economic Council regarding the economic reconstitution of Russia until the settlement of the general policy of the Council regarding Russia.)

(At this point M. Seydoux withdrew and members of the Inter-Allied Transportation Council and other experts entered the room.)

[Page 652]

7. Captain Morizot-Thibault read the note of the Inter-Allied Transportation Council contained in Appendix “E”.

Participation of the Interested Powers in the Improvement of the Railway From Chambery to Turin M. Tittoni said that the question was not a military one but a financial one. The Transportation Council had, he thought strayed beyond its province. The Supreme War Council had agreed that the improvement of this Railway was a matter of common Allied interest, and should be undertaken. All the Transportation Council should have done was to allot the expenses proportionately. It had, as a matter of fact, reached conclusions which modified the original decision of the Supreme War Council, because it had suggested that the participation of the Allies should be limited to meeting the excess cost of labour and material furnished during the war. In so doing, it had exceeded its functions. It suggested that the sharing of the cost should cease at the end of 1918. But the work once begun had to be completed. If all the Allies were responsible for the beginning of the work, they must remain responsible for it up to its completion. Had the Armistice come about immediately after the decision taken by the Supreme War Council, he asked what Powers would have borne the cost. In his opinion all the work carried out on this line had the same inter-allied character. The Council, however, made a distinction between work before January, 1919, and work subsequent to that date. The resolution adopted by the Supreme War Council represented a binding contract. If Italy had not been assured of help, she would not have undertaken the work. Since December 30th, 1918, all that had been done was to complete the work begun during the war.

M. Pichon said that as the question involved large sums and complicated financial considerations, it should be referred to the Financial Commission.

M. Tittoni said that in any case the original contract could not be interfered with or altered in any way.

Mr. Polk said that apparently a commitment had been made during the war. He knew nothing about its exact value or the justness of either method of settlement proposed.

(It was then decided to refer to the Financial Commission for consideration and report the Note of the Inter-Allied Transportation Council regarding the division of the cost among the Powers of the improvements to the Railway from Turin to Chambery.

It was also decided to communicate the record of the discussion of the Council as well as other relevant documents to the Financial Commission.)

8. Mr. Polk said that he had received a reply from Washington2 [Page 653] in which Mr. Lansing stated that it was possible that suitable tonnage might be available from the United States’ Army by August 30th, but neither the State Department nor the War Department had any funds of its own which could be used for the purpose in question. It was roughly estimated that repatriation would cost 250 to 300 dollars per man. Repatriation of Czecho-Slovaks in Siberia

Mr. Polk enquired whether any agreement had been reached as to financing the operation.

M. Berthelot said that France had hitherto advanced all the money for the Czecho-Slovaks in Russia and in Siberia. The advances amounted to one milliard a year. Great Britain had furnished arms, munitions, and supplies as an advance. These advances were ultimately to be shared by France, Great Britain and the United States in equal thirds. Application for ships had been made to Japan and the United States. The United States had not made a definite reply but thought it might be difficult to find the ships, while Japan had found enough for about one-third of the force. It was always understood that the cost would be equally divided between Great Britain, France and the United States.

Mr. Balfour asked whether it had never been thought that the Czecho-Slovak State should pay.

M. Berthelot replied that it was a matter of course that the Czecho-Slovak would re-pay the whole cost.

Mr. Polk asked if a statement might be prepared for him regarding the agreements made.

(It was agreed that M. Berthelot should furnish Mr. Polk with a statement of the agreements reached regarding the payment of the expenses for maintenance, transportation and repatriation of the Czecho-Slovak troops in Russia and Siberia.)

9. Mr. Polk drew attention to the decision of the Council taken on August 6th adopting three proposals by General Groves (See H. D. 25, Minute 143). He thought that the first and third Proposals To of these proposals exceeded the terms of the Treaty and that the Germans might be justified in refusing to comply with them. He thought it was very necessary to examine the question at once as it was clearly undesirable to exceed the Treaty rights of the Council. Proposals To Prevent the Germans From Disposing of Aeronautical Material

(It was decided to ask the Air Commission to re-examine at once the Resolution taken on August 6th regarding the sale of aeronautical material by Germany, with a view to establishing whether the action decided on goes beyond the terms of the Treaty of Peace.)

[Page 654]

(It was further decided to suspend all action on this Resolution pending receipt of the report.)

(The Meeting then adjourned.)

Villa Majestic, Paris, 11 August, 1919.

Appendix “A” to HD–28

[Telegrams on the Situation in Hungary]


Hoover, Paris.

For Atwood.4 Following letter addressed General Holban Commanding the Roumanian forces occupying the city of Budapest. It has been brought to my attention by the Hungarian Government that traffic of every character has been absolutely suspended on all the railroad lines entering the city of Budapest and that on several of the lines the rails have been broken. This condition of affairs was stated to you this morning by me in a personal interview. I now make formal written confirmation of this interview and in my capacity as President of the Allied Railway Mission under the direction of the Supreme War Council in Paris urge that the repairs to all the railroads be immediately effected and that traffic be immediately resumed on all the railroad lines entering the city of Budapest at least that the transportation of food supplies from the adjacent territory be allowed to move freely to the city. The suspension of railroad transportation has created additional hardship not only by stopping the incoming carloads of foodstuffs but by preventing the citizens of Budapest from travelling to the nearby country for the purchase of individual supplies. Acting in accordance with instructions from the Director General of Allied Relief for Europe Mr. Herbert C. Hoover, I came to Budapest as soon as advice was received of the downfall of the communistic government. It is my province the representative for Relief Transportation of the Supreme War Council to take charge of the transportation lines of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire so far as the movement of Relief supplies is concerned. The co-operation of the Roumanian military command is absolutely essential to the successful prosecution of my mission and I would be very much pleased if you would evidence your co-operation by immediately repairing the railroads and making them fit for normal traffic and by [Page 655] ordering the immediate resumption of Relief traffic of every description on the railroads in the territory you have entered with your forces. Will you kindly acknowledge receipt of this communication and advise if you will comply with my requests and indicate time when traffic will be resumed. A copy of this letter has been forwarded to the Supreme War Council at Paris through Mr. Herbert C. Hoover Director General of Relief for Europe.

W. B. Causey

Lieut Col. Engineers, USA President, Allied Railway Mission


Hoover and Atwood, Paris.

This is the 5th day since the Roumanian forces entered Budapest and all transportation lines are still out of service including the Danube river, although the Roumanians promise that they will open the transportation lines.

The Roumanians continue their advance beyond Budapest. Vast quantities of agricultural machinery of all kinds have been collected for shipment to Roumania. They also continue to confiscate great quantities of live stock. As stated in previous communications the Roumanian Army is practically living on the occupied territory. This will mean ultimate starvation for the Hungarians unless aid is given by the Allied Powers. Military occupation of Hungary by the Roumanians badly hampers their present re-organisation of new Hungarian Government and the functions of the civil are almost entirely interrupted. The Hungarian Government has no organised forces at its disposal to keep order. The only organised force consists of about six hundred of the old Gendarmerie in Budapest. Up to this time the Roumanians have allowed only six hundred of the Gendarmes to carry arms. It is absolutely essential if the Government is to function, armed forces must be organised in sufficient numbers to preserve order in the country outside of Budapest as well as in Budapest. At the present time the Roumanians have cut off all means of communication between the central government and outlying districts and even telephone communication has been impossible between the central government offices and other points in the city. There have been many reports of attacks on Jews and others by the so-called white guards with the tacit support of the [Page 656] Roumanian soldiers, but as a matter of fact there has been very little blood-shed.

In company with Captain Leath, who is to have charge of feeding of the children in Budapest, I called on General Holban, commanding officer of the Roumanians this afternoon and arranged to bring 240 tons of food in from Vienna. General Holban stated that if advised about what time the train would arrive he would restore the tracks for passage of same to Budapest. The food situation in Budapest is worse than it has been any time since the war commenced in 1914. It is worse here now than it was in Vienna in January. With their full knowledge of food situation in Budapest, it would seem that the Roumanians are trying to starve out the population by cutting the city off entirely from all supplies from the surrounding country. The carrying off of farm animals, farm machinery and food supplies of every character would seem evidence the Roumanians have the same intentions towards the country in general as towards Budapest. General Gorton, Col. Romanelli and myself have been holding sessions daily and nightly and have made vigorous protests to the Roumanian Commander about cutting the city off from supplies and about various other outrages that have been committed and have endeavoured to represent what we believe to be the attitude of at least three of the allied powers; there is no French representative here. It is my belief that if permitted to properly function, the new government would soon complete its organisation along the lines laid down from Paris and demonstrate a firm hold of the situation.

Unless the food blockade is raised at once supplies brought into this city, hunger and privation may produce great excesses. I would urge in the name of humanity that the representative powers in Paris take such steps as will ensure an immediate raising of the blockade placed by the Roumanians and that the blockade so far as the food is concerned be raised in every other direction.

W. B. Causey

Lt. Col. Engrs.
USA Pr. Inter-allied Ry. Miss.


To Col. Twiss, British Mission, Hotel Astoria, Paris.

Can you tell me whether it is the intention of Entente to cause withdrawal of Roumanian army from Budapest and if so how far. [Page 657] Impossible for new Government to function if they are allowed no troops or police to keep order and food supply is hampered by destruction or military control of railways and by removal of food and animals for army of occupation. Roumanian army is carrying off large quantities of agricultural machinery and other property not necessary for military purposes and referred to in Reparation and economic clauses of treaties. I have had no reply of any sort from Hotel Astoria to my telegrams.

General Gorton



Telegram transmitted by
the American Telegraphic Service

Mr. Clemenceau
President of the Peace Conference, Paris.

In conformity with the public opinion of the country, the provisional government, recruited partly from the previous government of Kun, was asked to resign; whereupon, the government yesterday handed in its resignation and a new provisional government has been formed. In my capacity as Governor, and by request of the new provisional government, I have taken the power into my hands. I have named and instructed the government. It is with great enthusiasm that the population of the capital of Budapest has witnessed the downfall of the Bolshevist regime of terror, and my conviction is that the people of the whole country will regard it in the same way. Our most urgent task at the moment is to make ready for and to convoke the National Assembly as soon as possible in order that upon a constitutional basis it may then make a definitive decision on the form of the state. Until that time our program is the complete crushing of Bolshevism which was transplanted into the country by means of the terror, the execution of the terms of the armistice, the restoration of order in the deranged affairs of state, the guaranteeing of productive labor, the preparation of data for the discussion of peace; and to that end we shall strive for closer relations with the Allied and Associated Governments.

We request your friendly support and, in the interest of the success of our efforts, the recognition of our government.

  • The Archduke Joseph
  • Marshal
[Page 658]


Hon. A. J. Balfour.
Astoria, Paris.

G. 7. Ninth dispositions of Roumanian Army of Transylvania on 8th August as follows. Army Hq. Törökszentmiklós. General Holban’s group Hq. Budapest includes 1st and 2nd Chasseur divisions with one regiment of Chasseur de Montague and armoured cars at Budapest, 7th Division at Hatvan, and 2nd Cavalry Divisions at Gyöngyös with detachments along Czecho-Slovak frontier. General Mosious group Hq. Czegléd includes 1st and 6th divisions at Kecsekemét and one brigade dismounted of 1st Cavalry at Nagy Körös. Other troops are 2nd division at Jaszo Ladany 16th Division at Kiskörös 18th Division at Mezötur 21st Division at Gyoma 20th Division at Debreczen. According to General Holban all that is left of Red Hungarian Army are bands of disorganised troops in area Kisber, Mór, Plattenzee. I shall obtain further information from Hungarian War Minister. The relations between Roumanians and Hungarians are greatly improved in consequence of following measures taken by General Holban. Firstly establishment of bureau where representations of government and Roumanian army work together and are in close liaison, secondly, employment of Hungarian police working in pairs with Roumanian soldiers. Movement in Budapest is unrestricted except to leave city for west when pass is required. General Holban has given Commander Freeman full hand in working Danube Commission except for examination of persons wishing to cross from left to right bank of river.

General Gorton

Appendix B to HD–28

[The Czecho-Slovak Plenipotentiary (Benes) to the President of the Peace Conference (Clemenceau)]


Mr. President: I have just received a copy of the despatch which the Conference was pleased to send to the Roumanian Government [Page 659] on the subject of the occupation of Hungary by Roumanian forces. Having received some alarming reports from Prague, and having seen the despatch of the Conference addressed to the Government at Bucharest, I take the liberty to draw the attention of the Conference to the following facts:

During the invasion by the Magyar Red Army into the territory of Slovakia, it devastated the country, pillaged the villages, and carried away either their means of conveyance, or their live-stock, or finally the considerable stocks of provisions of all kinds.

The Peace Conference, in a note addressed to Bela Kun, recognized the right of the Czecho-Slovak Government to reparations for these injuries, and declared that the Magyars will be held responsible.

The Czecho-Slovak Government has several times indicated to the Conference its intention to participate in a military intervention in Hungary. I have addressed several letters to the Conference setting forth the Czecho-Slovak point of view, while constantly emphasizing, however, that although desiring intervention in Hungary, I refuse to undertake it without the approval, or at least without the permission of the Conference. In the outcome, and after having respected the decisions of the Conference, the Czecho-Slovak Government finds itself in a very difficult position, for at Prague there are apprehensions that the present events in Hungary are of a kind to deprive us of every compensation due us.

I take the liberty of stating further, Mr. President, that decisions were taken some time ago by the Conference on the subject of the distribution of the rolling-stock of former Austria-Hungary whenever the liquidation of that equipment is made by the competent commission. Even in this question our interests might be injured by the present events. Inasmuch as by my very explicit personal interventions at Prague, the Czecho-Slovak Government has been careful to stand upon the strict ground of law in regard to the decisions of the Conference, I take the liberty of calling the attention of the Supreme Council to this fact, while expressing our reservations on the subject of what is now taking place in Hungary, and of whatever touches the question of our reparations.

In the name of our Government, I take the liberty of expressing our firm hope that the fact of having followed the decisions of the Conference will not be injurious to our interests, whether material or moral.

Accept [etc.]

Edward Benes
[Page 660]

Annex C to HD–28


french military mission at berlin

Note for Marshal Foch on the Subject of the Surrender of Criminals to the Entente (Articles 227 to 230 of the Treaty)

My opinion is that the Erzberger argument is well founded.

The surrender of the criminals will bring on the governmental crisis which he predicts. At first, disturbances; then a Haase government with members from among the most communistic of the independents; revolt by the great majority of the troops; then communism, if not anarchy.

If we do not wish for disorder, it is necessary to compromise.

What is culpable is the German doctrine of war: The more ferocious a war, the shorter it will be. Whence comes this sophism that the maximum humanity resides in the maximum cruelty.

The suffering will be terrible, but being brief and localized, the sum of the misfortunes will be less in a short war of that kind than in a very long war carried on more mildly.

Experience has disposed of this barbarous theory.

The responsible persons are its promoters. Although as a matter of fact, it is the whole German people which accepted with enthusiasm this thesis suited to its mentality.

If one wishes to fix the responsibility, it is the Emperor who ought to be punished. Given the German autocratic system, it is the Emperor alone who necessarily occupies the chief place in the sphere of military affairs. The generals are only his agents. Moltke, Falkenhayn, Hindenburg, and Ludendorf are lost in him.

Let us place ourselves, as far as possible, in the German mentality in order to pass judgment, or rather it is this mentality which we intend to chastise. Let us smite it at the top.

I say, the Emperor alone. If it be insisted upon, let us add Tirpitz. No doubt he simply carried the military principles over into maritime warfare. But it was an innovation, introduced on his initiative. He has, in strictness, a personal and direct responsibility.

Let us add besides: the commanders of submarines who torpedoed hospital ships; the commandants of prison camps conspicuous for excessive severity; the commandants of halting places who were personally guilty of murders and of thefts; the judges of Miss Cavell and of Captain Fryatt.

[Page 661]

Since they have not found judges at home, let us exact their surrender.

The Emperor, then, and perhaps Tirpitz and some subordinates who carried out directly decisions taken upon their own responsibility.

That is the most that we could get from a government. Further, it is necessary to exercise great care lest the Emperor return to Germany. Our right to exact his surrender would remain the same, but difficulties in exercising it would present themselves as in the case of the generals.

The argument that the Government is failing to keep its word in not carrying out a surrender provided for in the treaty which it has signed has no force.

It does not, in fact, say: “I refuse.” It says to you: “I cannot”, “I shall vanish, whether of my own accord or carried away by revolution, and you will not find a regular government which could give you satisfaction.” At best it will say, “I have promised, I shall try to fulfill, but without hope.”

Whatever is decided, it is important to specify what will be exacted.

Rumors, spread in Berlin by the Americans, have spoken of 3,500 names, among which are all the generals of repute. Everyone feels threatened. Because of human cowardice, as soon as any conjectures are given out the movement of resistance will be confined to the circle of friends of the appointed victims, the less numerous according as the victims are less highly placed.

The Emperor is absent. The protests will be theoretical. The Government will declare itself powerless. The resistance cannot consolidate itself at any particular point.

Tirpitz is a sailor. He is, moreover, the man against whom the people bear the greatest grudge for having got them implicated, and especially for not having succeeded. They will be seen giving him up like a scape goat, without very much effective resistance. The others are small fry.

Let this list be published. Perhaps it would be possible not to fix the date of surrender, or to put it off until a little later, if there is any wish to weigh the effect produced, to witness the outbreak of protest, its culmination and extinction, while leaving the possibility of fresh negotiations.

For it goes without saying that our lenity will call for compensations: complete reparations for offenses committed against us; facilities for our commissions of control, to whom the slightest resistance would be punished by the order for surrender of all or part of the hostages on the list; execution, with good grace, of the Polish territorial clauses.

This list will be the scarecrow which will take the place of the Marshal’s sword put back into its scabbard at the peace.

[Page 662]

Appendix D to HD–28


supreme economic council

Extract From the Minutes of the Session of July 17, 1919

Exchange of Goods Between the Countries of Central Europe

The Council notes a telegram from the Allied Missions of Railways and of Supply at Warsaw, dated July 13 (doc. 248) on the subject of reestablishing and regulating the exchange of goods, such as potatoes and coal, between Poland on one side and Germany, German Austria, and Czecho-Slovakia on the other.

It has been decided:

To submit for the approval of the Supreme Council the proposals made by the Allied Missions of Railways and of Supply.
To leave full liberty to the Italian Government to name, if it so desires, a representative on the committees which will be formed at points of transit with the object of supervising the execution of the regulations governing traffic.

Appendix E to HD–28


inter-allied transportation council

Note Relating to the Works for Improving the Chambery-Turin Line

By the Collective Notes No. 19 of 15th March 1918 and No. 22 of 18th April 1918, the Supreme War Council requested the Inter-Allied Transportation Council to study the question of transportation between France and Italy and vice versa, and the means to increase the capacity for strategic movements between the two countries. The Inter-Allied Transportation Council decided that the number of trains moved via Modane was limited on the one hand by the congestion in the station of Modane and on the other hand by the insufficient working of the section Modane-Bussoleno, and suggested that an Inter-Allied Commission should be sent to study on the spot the methods to remedy quickly these defects and to increase the capacity of the line.

[Page 663]

On the 28th June 1918 the report of the Sub-Committee, adopted by the Inter-Allied Transportation Council, was submitted for the approval of the Supreme War Council.

This report recommended the necessity of carrying out with as little delay as possible certain works both on the French and Italian sections of the line.

The enlarging of the Station of Modane and of the stations of Salbertrand and Bussoleno; the extension of the triage [sic] at St. Jean du Maurienne and supplementary installations for traction purposes; the doubling of the overhead electric cable from Modane to Bussoleno; doubling of the line Bussoleno to Ponte Dora and from Salbertrand to Pont de la Dora. Installation of new block-posts on the whole length of the line, etc.

By collective note No 33 of the 5th July 19189 the Military Representatives of the Supreme War Council adopted the decisions of the Inter-Allied Transportation Council and declared that:—

“Given the great and ever increasing strategic importance of the Modane line and the necessity of increasing its carrying capacity as a counter-balance to the greater facilities of transport between the fronts, which the enemy possesses to-day, it is urgent that all the measures proposed by the Inter-Allied Transportation Council be approved, put into execution and completed with the least possible delay.

“For reasons indicated in the report of the said Council and the explanatory memorandum annexed, the work in question should be of a frankly inter-allied character, and should therefore be carried out by the joint contribution of means and labour by all the Allies acting as one.

“The proportion of this contribution as regards both means and labour should be studied by the Inter-Allied Transportation Council in consultation with the competent authorities (and subject to the recommendations of the Permanent Military Representatives) should be given final endorsement by the Governments concerned.”

After studying the question, the Representatives of the Inter-Allied Transportation Council agreed upon the subject of the provision of labour and the contribution of the Allied Nations in the supply of raw and manufactured material. The work was undertaken and was carried on until the intense cold of the season caused the work to be suspended.

In view of the extreme urgency of the works of improvement on the Modane line, as recognised by the Supreme War Council, the question of the allocation of the expense involved had not been agreed upon before the works were actually commenced, especially [Page 664] the material supplied to Italy which was furnished without prejudice to the financial adjustment.

The settlement of the principle of Allied participation in the expenses for these works (participation of which the principle had been specially mentioned by the Supreme War Council in Note 33, para. 2) which had been placed before the Inter-Allied Transportation Council had been postponed until the French and Italian Representatives were in a position to furnish an exact statement of expenses incurred for the carrying out of these works on the French and Italian sections of the line.

The French and Italian Representatives presented their accounts to the Inter-Allied Transportation Council on 27th June, 1919, and the following points were discussed:

Would the Allies agree to participate in the expenses of the total programme of works on the Chambery-Turin line, without limitation as to date?
If the answer to the above question were in the negative would the Allies agree to participate in the cost of the works carried out up to a date to be agreed upon, say, June 30th, 1919, or December 31st, 1918, for example?
Being given that the works carried out comprised a certain economic value, should the participation of the Allies be in the total expenses or in the supplementary expenses resulting from the works having been carried out during war time (Difference in the prices of 1913 and 1918)?
In what proportion should the participation of each Ally in the expenses be fixed?

Following this discussion the Inter-Allied Transportation Council, not having been able to arrive at a decision on the common ground, decided to forward the following resolution to the Supreme War Council:

“Collective Note No. 33 of the Permanent Military Representatives on the Supreme War Council in respect of the improvements on the Chambery-Turin line, stated:

‘For reasons indicated in the report of the said Council and the explanatory memorandum annexed, the work in question should be of a frankly Inter-Allied character and should therefore be carried out by the joint contribution of means and labour by all the Allies acting as one.’

“By reason of the permanent value of the improvements of this line from an economic point of view, the Inter-Allied Transportation Council is of opinion that the inter-allied financial assistance should only be applied on the one hand to the difference between the cost of these works in war conditions and the cost of such works in the prewar period, and on the other hand to such works executed until the 1st January, 1919. Subsequent to that date the French and Italian [Page 665] Governments would bear the entire cost of the works which in their judgment it would be policy to continue.

“By the ordering of the immediate execution of these works in a period during which the cost of labour and raw materials had reached a very high figure, supplementary expenditure was in consequence imposed upon the French and Italian Services, and the Inter-Allied Transportation Council proposes that such expenditure should be distributed as follows:—

  • One-fourth to the American Army
  • One-fourth to the British Army

the remaining half to be divided between France and Italy in proportion to the works actually undertaken by each of the two Nations.

“The cost of the material supplied to Italy by the United States of America, Great Britain and France shall be deducted from the expenses borne by each of these Powers.

“The Inter-Allied Transportation Council makes a reservation in respect of the acceptance of the figures submitted by the Italian and French Railway Construction Services until they have been submitted to the experts of the four Allied Governments.”

G. Mayer
, Lt.-Col.
British Representative

General McCoy

American Representative

General Levi, as Italian Representative, cannot accept the above proposal. He wishes to stand by the literal interpretation and spirit of the Collective Note No. 33 and the explanatory memorandum annexed, which it is desirable should bear the interpretation that all the Allies shall participate in the total expenditure which has been necessary for the works on the Modane line up to date.

These works were in effect only undertaken on the understanding that this assistance would be guaranteed. General Levi asks in consequence that the question be decided by the Supreme War Council.

Levi, General Italian Representative

The French Representative considers that the participation of Great Britain and America as embodied in the above resolution constitutes the minimum. If the Supreme War Council decides that the two Allied Nations should participate in a higher proportion, he asks that France should receive an equally favourable treatment as Italy.

Le Henaff, Colonel French Representative

[Page 666]

Approximate Valuation of Expenses

Cost in 1915 Cost in 1918 Difference
Expenses of work completed up to 1st Jany 1919. Work carried out by French on French section. 696,000 frcs. 1,766,000 frcs. 1,070,000 frcs.
Work of electrification of line at Modane carried out by Italian Authorities. Amount to be paid by France to Italy. 755,000 lire 2,487,000 lire 1,732,000 lire
Work carried out by Italian Authorities on Italian Section. 2,880,406 lire 9,306,946 lire 6,516,540 lire
Expenses of work completed on 1st July, 1919. Work carried out by French on French Section. 696,000 frcs. 1,766,000 frcs. 1,070,000 frcs.
Work of electrification of line at Modane carried out by Italian Authorities. Amount to be paid by France to Italy. 815,000 lire 2,649,500 lire 1,834,500 lire
Work carried out by Italian Authorities on Italian Section. 3,680,000 lire 11,530,500 lire 7,850,500 lire
Expenses for completion of whole programme of work. Work on French Section. 752,000 frcs. 1,965,000 frcs. 1,213,000 frcs.
Work of electrification of line at Modane. Amount to be paid by France to Italy. 1,209,000 lire 3,814,000 lire 2,605,000 lire
Work on the Italian Section. 4,335,000 lire 13,534,000 lire 9,199,000 lire

supreme war council
the military representatives

Collective Note No. 33

Works To Be Carried Out and Measures of Urgency To Be Taken To Increase the Capacity of the Modane Line in Relation to Strategic Necessities

The Permanent Military Representatives of the Supreme War Council.

[Page 667]

Referring to:

  • Their collective note No. 19, of March 15, 1918,
  • Their collective note No. 22, of April 18, 1918.

And after examination

Of the report by the Interallied Transportation Committee concerning the works to be carried out and the measures to be taken on the Modane line to increase its capacity;

Of the explanatory memorandum annexed to the same report;11

Consider that:

In view of the constantly growing importance of the Modane line in relation to strategy > and considering the necessity of increasing the ease and rapidity of transporting troops from one front to the other, in order to redress the balance, now in favor of the enemy, all the works and all the measures proposed by the Interallied Transportation Committee should be approved and put into execution immediately.

By reason of the considerations contained in the report by the Committee named above and in the attached explanatory memorandum, the works in question ought to have a clearly interallied character, and their execution ought, therefore, to be guaranteed with the assistance of all the Allies without distinction.

The proportion in which this assistance will be lent should be the object of study by the Interallied Transportation Committee, together with the various interested authorities, and then receive final ratification by the Allied Governments upon advice of the Permanent Military Representatives.

All steps relating to this matter should be taken with the greatest dispatch; likewise, it would be very desirable to have this note approved as soon as possible by the Allied Governments.

Military Representative of the French Section of the C. S. G.

Military Representative of the Italian Section of the C. S. G.

Military Representative of the British Section of the C. S. G.

Military Representative of the American Section of the C. S. G.
Tasker Buss
[Page 668]

Explanatory Memorandum

(Annexed to the Report of the Inter-Allied Transportation Council)

The problem of increasing the means of transport between France and Italy has already been the subject of study by the Permanent Military Representatives, and the various measures which have been recognized as necessary to attain that end, are already, in great part, being carried out.

The complete realization of these measures will of itself constitute a very important achievement, since it will enable the capacity of strategic transport between France and Italy to be almost doubled in case of need and during a limited period.

Nevertheless, the problem cannot yet be considered as completely solved.

Studies recently completed by the Interallied Transportation Council have demonstrated that the Central Empires are in a position to carry out, with an ease and speed far greater than that of the Allies, important movements of troops from one end to the other of the western front. With the object of remedying as far as possible this strategic inferiority, the Interallied Transportation Committee, after studying afresh the question of the capacity of the Modane line has recognized the possibility of increasing that capacity still further.

This question being at present of the highest importance, it is necessary that it be examined and decided with the least delay.

The present capacity of the Modane line is about 20 trains a day both ways, and it should be remembered that in going from Italy to France the trains are necessarily limited in their tonnage (about half that of an ordinary military train) because of difficulties in traction which have existed up until now.

Among the causes which limit the capacity of the Modane line, the following should be borne in mind:

The excessive length of halts by trains in the station at Modane in consequence of the inspection of carriages, switching, and customs operations.
The length of certain block signal sections which does not permit a greater number of trains to be moved along the most difficult sections of the line.
The insufficient number and length of sidings in several stations on the line.
The number and type of electric locomotives at present available.
The total supply of electrical energy now available.
The necessity of using a third locomotive from Modane to Km. 6.5 and the consequent limitation on speed over that stretch.

The recent studies (Annexes to the present memorandum)13 which have been conducted by the Interallied Transportation Committee, with the assistance of the Franco-Italian military, railway, and customs authorities, have shown the possibility of increasing the capacity of the line at first up to 36 complete trains a day, and later up to 42 trains, by adopting the following measures:

The regular use of two locomotives on all trains without distinction, to avoid cutting the trains in half.
Increase in the number of locomotives available on the electrified section, and adoption of measures for their normal use in double draft.
Urgent works to permit the movement of a larger number of trains on the single track section by reducing the length of certain signal block sections.
Necessary works to increase the capacity of the installations in several stations, among others Bussoleno, Salbertrand, and first of all Modane.
Measures designed to reduce the length of halts at Modane for the inspection of carriages and the operations of the customs.
Agreements to be taken for making up trains adapted to the new requirements of double-traction.
The setting up of a single body of control and direction for the line from Turin to Chambery by means of representatives of the two interested railway administrations.

Once the opportunity is recognized of enlarging the capacity of the Modane line by the foregoing means, it should be noted that France as well as Italy will be unable in the present situation to divert the necessary labor and materials for completing the works.

It will be necessary therefore that a clearly interallied character and interest in these works be recognized and that they be undertaken with the most liberal assistance of all the Allies. It is necessary therefore that all these works be approved and carried out within the briefest time, with the cooperation of all the Allies, with priority over all other works in order to attain the proposed object.

  1. Appendix I to CF–37, appendix II to CF–60, and appendix I to CF–62, vol. vi, pp. 73, 321, and 356.
  2. Telegram No. 2776, August 9. 1919, 4 p.m., to the Commission to Negotiate Peace, Foreign Relations, 1919, Russia, p. 295.
  3. Ante, p. 563.
  4. Lt. Col. William G. Atwood, member of the American Relief Administration at Paris.
  5. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  6. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  7. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  8. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  9. Post, p. 666.
  10. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  11. Infra.
  12. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  13. Not found in Department’s files.